If my art - and this blog - is going to be about Life, then I must include its challenges as well as its joys. That means writing the backstory with each image.
I posted this image last week on Erin's Facebook wall in response to her Black Friday post, which read simply this:
Thinking of all the miserable ingrates today that are scrambling for stupid crap that will never make them happy...all I want for Christmas is my health back, for the pain to stop. I'll never want anything so much as long as I live :(
I debated whether to share it here on my blog, but with Erin's blessing, here I sit at my keyboard.
The pain Erin speaks of is caused by IC - Interstitial Cystitis, with which she was diagnosed in August. I won't trouble you with any details, but you can imagine what her life has been like since then. On a side note, Erin is no stranger to painful challenges in her life, so she is already somewhat of a learned philosopher at the ripe old age of 21, thus meeting this situation with considerable experience under her belt.
For anyone who has experienced a painful and/or potentially life-altering physical condition - yourself or that of a loved one - you probably already know the words to this song.
We - her family and friends - continue to support Erin on this journey, doing what we can to help her deal with the myriad of issues that crop up. Often that means just listening to her work things out in her own mind/heart. These are treasured, if bittersweet, times together indeed. Truth be told, I think that I have learned more from her than she has from me.
Erin is learning to navigate the world of medical specialists and surgical procedures, therapies and diets, etc., and the complexities of medical insurance - all necessary life skills. A well-informed, responsible patient, she comes to the table with her homework done, thoroughly researching every medical term, medication and its potential side effects, usually before she's even seen the doctor. She actually told the doctors that she had IC! She has also learned much from the experiences of other sufferers, mainly via the internet. She, in turn, lends her support to others, sharing her experience - and wisdom - with others via her Tumblr.
But she is learning so much more...in a nutshell: what really matters in life...and what doesn't.
I don't know where all this is going, but when do we really know that in this life? For now the situation is like a good trail: challenging terrain, full of twists and turns, seemingly impossible steep, rocky climbs, and heart-stopping descents...and if you lift up your eyes every now and then, you are blessed with some awesome scenery along the way.
And - for Erin - maybe a little insight into Life. (Seriously...it's how I ride.)
Now, for anyone interested in the genesis of the first image, there's this:
- While I was searching online for the exact wording of a favorite half-remembered quote on adversity, I stumbled across the one above. I quickly forgot the one I was looking for.
- I then searched my hard drive for an appropriate bike photo...and found the one above, from our trip to Fruita, on the Utah border. This photo was taken by my husband Bob, with a little Nikon point-&-shoot camera, just moments before we got separated and I got lost. Out in the middle of nowhere. In the hot sun. With not a soul around. I digress.
- I cropped the photo down to just the bike tire on the right, then cloned away the distracting shadows. Then just some tinkering with color, light, textures, adjustment layers, etc. until it looked like I wanted and said what I wanted it to say. I actually started with one of Kim Klassen's wonderful tutorials, but it took on a life of its own and ended with probably way too many layers.